Yeah, it’s long. You might want to go grab a cup of coffee or something…
This post began yesterday morning as a hastily typed email to a few friends and it will this morning become a hastily typed blog post. We are going to the beach, yes again! My husband has a work related something and we the family (minus our boy the cyclist) are tagging along. He will come home in a few hours ready to load the vehicle and well, I have nothing packed at this point, hence the hasty typing.
It’s another one of those posts that I really dread to write, hastily or not. Conviction is not easy; instead it is humbling and it is hard. In my real self, my flesh, I am so full of hurt and pride–yes, pride that masks itself as self righteousness and unforgiveness…but I am getting ahead of myself–so full of hurt and pride that I want to rebel against the kindness of the Lord that leads me to repentance…
But I must and dare not being packed when my husband gets home…
Matters of conviction in which the Lord is dealing with me:
*Forgiveness. As I consider the command to “Be kind to one another, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you,” I realize that the Lord’s forgiveness is given unconditionally and without reservation and I am commanded to forgive in the same manner. I want to offer forgiveness only when I feel like being forgiving or when I think the other person is somehow sorry enough and contrite enough to be granted my pardon. This is not forgiveness. It is pride. True, biblical forgiveness is impossible for me; I must depend on the Holy Spirit to enable me to choose to forgive, whether I feel like or not.
*Confession and repentance–mine. I need to confess my own part in the mess, my sin and wrongdoing. It is easy to indulge in my righteous anger (and I believe there is such a thing as being angry in a righteous manner)–but I can also allow that anger to fester into bitterness which leads to any number of sinful reactions. I must be humble enough to accept the Lord’s conviction—and not just confess it, but repent of it. I say, “I know I shouldn’t get so mad…” but then I always end up staying so mad! 🙂 I must flee the sin in repentance.
*Prayer for the restoration of fellowship. This is hard, no two ways about it. Many have reminded me of the split between Paul and Barnabas and subsequent spread of the gospel. I’m not saying that can’t happen here. I am saying that we are family, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are under covenant with this body of believers and as such we are to desire restoration and reconciliation. A coming together of a group of people this hurt and this divided—it seems impossible. My hurt is at times so great that I cannot fathom it. What greater miracle could He work? Yet He is the God who works miracles. Nothing is impossible for Him!
While we must remember that we are bound together as family, at least for now, I do not think that restoration and reconciliation necessarily entail going back to business as usual. A line has been drawn in the sand, and we face a new normal, there is no doubt about that.
Please do not read these words and hear victory. I am weary of the fight and I have told the Lord, “I can not! I will not! Do not ask this of me—I can’t do it!” The problem with those assertions is the big “I.” He reminds me that of course I can’t. Only He can. Only He can bring beauty from ashes. Only He can work in my heart the fruit of the Spirit. Only He can give me the humility to genuinely forgive. Only He can lead us through the refining process into the place He has for us, a place of His abundance, though we cannot yet see it.
I do not know what the Lord has for us. I do know that we will not and ought not do anything out of hurt or haste–oh, but it is tempting! We must wait on the Lord. We must pray and forgive and confess and seek His face. It is hard. It hurts. Please don’t think I have all this figured out. I do not. I do, however, know this: my husband and I stand resolutely with our pastor as he contends for the faith, just as we have all along, and we seek the glory of God in Jesus Christ to be magnified and exalted above all. Who knows what things He has ahead for us? May we be found faithful whichever way His road leads.